Seventy years ago on Friday, more than 4,000 men, who belonged to what has been called our "greatest generation," died as they landed on the beaches of Normandy for the purpose of thwarting Hitler's dream of a thousand years of Nazi worldwide domination. What would our nation be like today had not the largest seaborne invasion in history succeeded? We would not be bothered with the squabbling of politicians hungry to gain and maintain power for their party or their faction. There would be only one party and no factions. Special interests and the power of money in determining election results would be out of fashion, because there would be no elections. We would not be subjected to the constant bickering between and among media experts who try to sell us on one set of values or another. The government would control all media and only one set of values would be acceptable. Racism and anti-Semitism would not fragment our society because minority races would be eliminated or expunged from the country and Jews would be enslaved or killed. The morality of same-sex marriage would not create political tension because homosexual behavior would be outlawed and homosexuals banned from citizenship. There would be no NRA to protect a citizen's right to own guns because only the inner circle of the ruling party and their functionaries would be allowed to own guns. Any mass murders that took place would not be the result of random acts of madness; they would be calculated acts of eliminating potential foes of the regime in power. Cruelty to animals that are used in scientific experiments would not exist because humans, especially Jews, homosexuals, and non-Aryan peoples would be used for experimentation instead. There would be no war because instead of a world with multiple nations having diverse political and economic interests we would have one world controlled by one supreme leader. The problem of women being excluded from economic or political power would disappear because the essence of societal values would be based on the domination of blue eyed, white skinned, blond, supermen. There would be no concern over the government's using sophisticated techniques to observe the activity of citizens. The idea of a private life would be eliminated because all human communication and activity would be part of and in service of the public, i.e., the ruling regime.
With all this in mind, we should pause this weekend to ponder what kind of world it is we have today, all the shortfalls, all the seemingly unsolvable problems, and recognize just how great was "the greatest generation."
Stephen Sloane is a retired naval officer and a professor at Saint Mary's College of California. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.